PORT MORESBY - A rampaging crowd has attacked Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill’s official vehicle and business interests in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.
The Toyota LandCruiser V8 vehicle was stolen, and construction and mining logistics company Wildcat Construction base looted and torched, on Saturday afternoon.
South West Air’s airport hangar was ransacked also although its fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft had earlier been moved elsewhere.
O’Neill’s LandCruiser was among 10 vehicles, including an excavator, backhoe and grader, stolen by a rampaging crowd that had ran amok through the town.
An expatriate manager was rescued by bystanders when the prime minister’s premises were attacked.
Wildcat Construction and South West Air are the two biggest locally owned companies in the province and employ many locals and foreigners.
The attack followed the declaration of William Powi as Governor of Southern Highlands on Thursday.
Witnesses in Mendi said the rampaging crowd blamed O’Neill for the long delay in counting and eventual declaration of Powi as Governor.
All government services and businesses were closed and Mendi town was quiet and deserted yesterday.
Also on Saturday afternoon, two policemen were shot dead while another was seriously wounded and to Mt Hagen General Hospital.
Two teachers were with the policemen when attacked; one of them had his hands chopped off while his colleague is still missing.
Sources said police in the province have sought refuge with the candidates, allowing criminals to take over the town, firing guns indiscriminately.
Governor Powi condemned the actions of the minority who continue to take the law into their hands.
He said it was the work of the police to maintain law and order but the province had been taken over by warlords.